DES MOINES, Iowa — Monday was the first day back on campus for thousands of Des Moines Public Schools students, with in-person learning resuming following weeks of 100% virtual instruction.
Most students had not been on school grounds since November after COVID-19 infection rates increased and students were sent home for online learning.
DMPS Communications Director Phil Roeder said the return to its hybrid model went smoothly Monday.
"I think students and our staff alike knew what to expect, " Roeder said. "One of the big things of course with the hybrid model, and will be a big factor for the rest of the school year, is living with COVID-19."
According to Roeder, about 59% of DMPS students are currently enrolled in hybrid learning, while about 40% are taking classes fully online.
He also mentioned that a few hundred students in the Individualized Education Program are always at school, not in the hybrid or virtual learning methods.
However, on Jan. 25, the start of the second semester, Roeder said the percentage of students in the hybrid and virtual learning methods will change a small amount.
"Looking ahead to the second semester it's roughly a 57, 58 percent are in hybrid, and I think it's about 41 percent in virtual, " Roeder said.
Roeder noted one aspect of in-person learning resuming is students are able to get back to extracurricular activities.
"We are able to now resume sports," Roeder said. "The fact that we are now coming back to hybrid, they're not only able to continue practice but actually begin winter competitions."
Local 5 also asked Roeder if there was any talk of having students return to the classroom sometime during the second semester and he said that all depends on the Iowa Legislature.
Roeder also said if parents decided to switch students from virtual learning to hybrid learning—or hybrid learning to virtual learning—for the second semester, parents will receive a reminder of their choice prior to Jan. 25.